Latest War is a Defense Bureaucrat's Dream

Two airmen, Jones and Davis, were assigned to the induction center, where they advised new recruits about their government benefits, especially their GI insurance. Airman Davis went right to it with an enthusiastic pitch.

“Could I have everyone from row three to row one stand up please?” he projected through the center. The men stood up.

“Men… the boys upstairs are sayin’ one out of every five of us won’t make it back home outside a wooden crate… that’s everyone standing up in this room.” There was silence.

“Do you have kids? A wife?

“You wanna go out there… into the fray, knowing if something happens to you, they’ll have nothin’?

“Men, it’s your duty… GI insurance will give you the peace of mind to go out there and get the job done right.”

Capt. Smith, the supervisor, was impressed. The men were signing up… some of them were white as a bleached sheet. Airman Davis’ success rate was 40%! The goal had been 30%

But Capt. Smith couldn’t help by glance over at Airman Jones. He noticed Jones was having a staggeringly high success rate, selling insurance to nearly 100% of the recruits he advised.

Rather than ask Jones about it, the captain stood in the back of the room and listened to his sales pitch. Jones explained the basics of the GI insurance to the new recruits, and then said:

“Guys, look… If you have GI insurance and go into battle and are killed, the government has to pay $200,000 to your beneficiaries. If you don’t have GI insurance and you go into battle and get killed, the government has to pay only $6,000.

“Now,” he concluded, “which group do you think they are going to send into battle first?”


And we bet that was before the spending cuts… Decisions, decisions.

The Pentagon is in a pickle. It has expensive tastes: war, tomorrow’s gadgets, employing nearly half a million people and a first-rate military with all the bells, whistles and toys. It even likes its cost-cutting initiatives to be expensive…


But those things cost money, and there’s no more moolah. So it’s forced to prioritize.

Ugh. If only there were some newfangled type of warfare. Something cheaper, cleaner, less taboo… but that posed more of a threat than traditional types of warfare. Then the Pentagon could keep its funding… maybe even increase it.

It would be a DoD bureaucrat’s dream.

Hrmm… huh?… What’s this? “DCAF Horizon 2015 Working Paper on Cyberwarfare.”

(Flips open the report’s cover.)

Hmm… it says here:

“More frequently, cyberwar is presented as a new kind of war that is cheaper, cleaner, with less or no bloodshed, and less risky for an attacker than other forms of armed conflict. This seems to make cyberwar attractive.”

No way.

Attractive war?


“Welcome to the fifth domain of war” interjects our mil-tech maven Byron King.

“The latest battlefield after land, sea, air and space. War isn’t strictly kinetic anymore. The limit of an army’s reach is no longer the range of its biggest gun.”

“Iran’s conventional military doesn’t rank in the world’s top 10,” says Byron. “Despite having more than a million men under arms and several thousand armored fighting vehicles and combat aircraft, it’s doubtful that Iran could survive a conventional war.”

But that’s a moot point. According to Byron, a recent study by the Atlantic Council classified Iran as a tier-three cyber military. That means it can cause significant harm to civilian networks within the U.S., if not in the government.

Now some Iranian in his PJs on his laptop and jamming out to Spotify and sipping kashk, can wreak havoc stateside… it doesn’t matter how mighty our warships are.

No wonder the Pentagon is soiling itself. We would be too if we were spending half a trillion dollars each year… only to wake up one day and find the rules had been rewritten.


Peter Coyne
for The Daily Reckoning

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